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Big mess

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hitnspit, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. hitnspit

    hitnspit Songster

    Feb 24, 2010
    New Haven, Vermont
    ok for the people out there that do baby chicks. How do you stop them from playing in the food and making a huge mess of it all. I have a normal feeder but seems 50% of the food ends up on the floor.should i not feed them untill they eat up what they have scattered around.....help....jim

  2. madamwlf

    madamwlf Nevermore Acres

    Aug 22, 2010
    Mount Airy, MD
    I elevate the feeder and waterer as they grow.
  3. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    Not only do I elevate the feeder, I also put blocks of wood elsewhere in the brooder. That gives them someplace else to play king of the hill.

    No matter what you do they will spread feed around. I use a kitty litter scoop and clean as much poop and damp litter as I can ever day, then add a little fresh. You certainly don't want the only food they can find to be the stuff on the floor with poop on top.
  4. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    While I understand that you don't want them eating food with poop on top, I think it is the natural instinct to scratch in the feeder and throw food around. I see this with hatchery chicks, as well as those I have hatched with a broody hen. If I present the broody with a bowl or feeder full of feed, she will make a bee-line for it and dump it over, then cluck-call the chicks to come eat, and show them how to scratch and eat. I've watched it many times. They know to eat from the ground beneath their feet, and you can try your best, but mother nature will win and they will do what they are genetically programmed to do, if they have the chance.
  5. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

    Aug 26, 2011
    I used a homemade feeder that didn't leave enough space for them to climb in and scratch around. [​IMG] However, they STILL managed to get the feed all over the place with their beaks, so I think there's no avoiding it!
  6. Snozzle

    Snozzle Songster

    Dec 16, 2011
    Tri-Cities Tennessee
    I put some rocks in the water it keeps them from getting in it. The rocks I used are quartzite that we have all over the yard, make sure it isn't a porous mineral that may change the water alkalinity. Glass marbles would work well.
  7. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I use those long chick feeders--the ones with all the side by side wholes, so they can stick their heads in the hole and get the food. Those are great because they can't get their little feet in there and scratch out all the food. I have a plastic one with a flip top lid. I do have to open it and scoop out the shavings once or twice a day (morning and then after work), but they don't waste much food that way.

    Also, I have a cement patio block, that is about 10x10, and I put the chick waterer in the middle of that, and they don't seem to get as much shavings into their water.

    Another great thing for chicks are those food blocks you can hang up. Gives them something to peck and they just love that.

  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I put their feeders in this Poly Lid Chick Feeder by Kuhl.

  9. JellyBeanCee

    JellyBeanCee Chirping

    Aug 26, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I was using one of those long metal feeders with the holes in it but they constantly either got shavings into it or stood on it and pooped in it. Blech.

    So, I bought this little bird feeder for around $10 at Target. Since you can hang it by a wire, you can raise or lower it depending on their size. My 3 are still using it now and they are 11 weeks old. I've only found poop in it a couple of times and that was because I was lazy about raising it up during one of their growth spurts. But when it's raised up to around shoulder height, you shouldn't get poop in it and they can't scratch it out, plus with it swinging by a wire, they can't roost on it. I found the spillage reduced by a lot.


    As for the waterer, we were constantly battling shavings and kept raising it up on bricks, etc. They still managed to get shavings into it, poop in it, knocked it over completely...argh! They are now using a hamster bottle and like it. Didn't take them but a few minutes to figure it out.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The first few days I just put feed on a flat board in the brooder that has some strips around the edges to help keep them form scratching too much off, but most gets scratched. But that is just for the first two or three days to get them used to eating.

    I use those long red feeders with the individual holes, but I made a holder for it. I don't have photos but it is basically two boards on end and connected to make something heavy they can't turn over, which they will do when they get older. I notched the two upright boards so I could set the feeder in that. This raises it up a bit so they don't scratch as much trash in it and they don't bill out quite as much feed.

    I like that bird feeder idea. That shows inovative thinking.

    Some people raise their feeders a bit but put a pan under it to catch what is scratched out. That can cut down on waste. There are plenty of different ways you can approach this.

    I am not at all worried about chicks eating a little of each others poop. That's how they share probiotics. Obviously you don't want a wet, manure filled brooder, but I consider them eating a little poop healthy for them. I go so far as to take some dirt from the run and give that to them at a very early age, usually their third day in the brooder, to introduce the probiotics from the adults and allow them to start developing their immune system for the day they first go onto the ground.

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